Beasts of the Four Kingdoms: Prologue
A SHIP GLIDED OVER THE CRYSTALED WATER, awaiting its passengers. As it was tied to a pier at a wharf, there stood a man. He watched the water lap at the boat, making the ship look larger than life itself. To the rest of them, the ship looked like the most beautiful sailing vessel that anyone could see. But to the man, it was just a ship.
To his left, strapped to his waist was a sword. To his right, hung a satchel, which contained some letters to which were to be given to unlikely receivers. Another man, standing beside him, wore a hood to conceal his features, especially those to the side of his head.
“Here,” said the first man, giving the man his satchel. “Gives this to the woodsmen.”
The other man grunted and hesitated in taking the bag. He hid it between his green cloak, making sure none of the other knights saw his deed. “But Sire, why would you give this to those barbaric monsters?” the man inquired.
“Because, they are the only hope for the kingdom, now.” The knight answered. He sighed and took out piece paper, signed his name and then gave it to his servant. “Here. Stick it in the sewn pocket.
Make sure nobody finds it until the appropriate time. Understand?”
“Yes my Lord,” said the man. He took it, slipped it into the hidden compartment, slung it over his shoulder and left.
The knight breathed in the sea air, knowing this would probably be the last time he’d ever step on dry land again.
When the other man entered the wharf’s town, watched the cobblestoned streets, making sure known knew, saw or heard him. He quickly retreated several streets down and then found himself under a bridge. He knew the bridge would go for miles and then reach into the forest. The man waited and listened for any sounds of an incoming stranger.
Then, he heard a familiar voice.
“Has he gone?” the voice asked.
“Just this morning,” the man answered. He pulled back his hood, revealing him a young man, ginger, with a mustache and beard, a lock of tangled hair. “And he gave me this!” The man retrieved the satchel and shared its contents.
“Letters?” the voice asked in disgust. The person moved forward exposing an older man, black-haired with thistles of gray poking about his beard.
“Special letters,” the man said. “He said he wanted to give them to you.”
The older man shook his head, puzzled by all the matter so much that he began to walk under the bridge in circles. “But why? He has no dealing with us, and we have no dealings with him!”
“Baron, please, listen. This man wants us to take care of his children. He thinks that our womenfolk can teach them the true way of the Almighty and our men can teach them the basis of nature.”
“And why is that?”
“Because we are Zavia’s last hope.”
Many miles away, in a forest, a middle-aged dwarf was hunting. He was eyeing a squirrel that was hiding up in the branches of a tree. He was aiming his arrow up into the trees and pulled back the bowstring. Just as his last fingers lingered on the arrow, large flocks of small black birds fluttered throughout the whole forest. Their tiny calls where amplified by the quantity of their numbers. The dwarf looked around, shocked and frightened, not knowing what to do. And then he heard the message, the message that was heard all over the forest.
Death is coming. Beware.